Fanfiction: Moyuan and Bai Qian, Book 2 - Chapter 8, Part 7 (Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms 三生三世十里桃花)

Chapter 8 - Divided

Part 7
written by LalaLoop, consulting by Bunny, edited by Kakashi
Fengjiu woke up with a start.

She glanced around the tent they had been staying in for the last five days, and then at the unconscious man lying on the pallet.

For five days she had positioned herself at Donghua’s side, had not gone through a meal where she would not see him stir, jump to his side and leave the rest of the food for Si-Ming to finish. But her body was not reacting much to the lack of food or rest; the clarity of her mind had also not been affected at all. Her hand was often clamped securely around Donghua’s; she’d fall asleep monitoring him, and any small movement from him she would feel and wake up almost instantly.

For five days, she had been bombarding Si-Ming with questions, some of them he had answered to the best of his ability. He too was as baffled as she was about everything and was doing what he could to keep them safe.

Every time Fengjiu opened her eyes from a half-asleep state, she would replay what she had seen in the Nine Heavens in her head, asking herself yet more questions.

Would anyone attack them here, for instance? Si-Ming had told her that they were safe from the Dark Immortal, but then they’d all thought the Nine Heavens were safe. That was the reason she could not take her eyes off of Donghua for one second. If someone like him could be so brutally wounded, who knew what could happen next?

Si-Ming had been going on many trips and was back from the last one only minutes ago. He had brought back food but Fengjiu did not have the heart to touch any of it. Donghua had been unconscious for longer than she thought possible considering how powerful he normally was; and only when she knew he was in no danger could she worry about food, or about anything else for that matter.

Just now though, Fengjiu thought with hope rising to her chest, she had felt a small tug on her hand.

Was he awake? She sat closer, heart pounding.

To her great amazement, his eyes slowly opened. Even when worn out, he had not lost that proud and distant look on his face that distinguished him from all people.

Feeling as if a giant boulder had been lifted from her shoulders, Fengjiu almost broke into tears. “Donghua,” she whispered.

As he looked at her, confusion formed in his eyes. Suddenly, he grabbed the pallet’s edge and pulled himself up, gasping for breath as though he had not breathed at all for five days.

“Careful!” she cried and caught him by his arms. The coolness of his silver hair briefly swept by her hands.

The tent flapped open and the Star Lord barged inside.

“Lord Donghua…” his eyes were bulging with shock but also relief. “Thank heavens you’re awake —”

“Si-Ming,” Donghua’s eyes were still glued on her. “What is going on?”

Si-Ming looked back and forth between Fengjiu and his master, “I… I had to bring the princess along, Lord Donghua. Luoji was right there, he was about to kill anyone who wanted to help you and she was too close --”

The name ‘Luoji’ seemed to have triggered Donghua’s mind for his expression changed vastly.

“Where are we?” he asked.

“18,000 miles west of Ruoshui River,” Si-Ming said.

“Good enough…”

“Lord Donghua,” said Si-Ming in a cautious tone, dipping his head. “I sincerely advise that you do not strain yourself.”

“Tell me what is going on,” Donghua commanded.

“Well,” Si-Ming cleared his throat and began. “Your powers sustained a major disruption during the fight with Luoji, Lord Donghua, the force of his magic was too potent. I had to take us as far away from there as I could so you could heal without interruption; and the princess has been looking after you for five…”

“Si-Ming,” Donghua rubbed his temple, sighing. “What is going on across the realms?”

“Oh --” The Star Lord clamped his mouth shut for a moment in embarrassment. “Ahh… but…” he directed a reluctant look at Fengjiu, which got her blood boiling.

They were hiding something from her. Not that it was a surprise. Of course Donghua always had something on his mind, but for Si-Ming to act like this, too? And she thought he was her friend!

“Tell me what you can,” said Donghua again calmly.

Si-Ming nodded and took a moment, as though to filter out whatever he was not supposed to say.

“It seems the news has reached Xunzhua,” he said. “From what I’ve learned, Luoji might be wanting to launch his next attack on the Crystal Palace. No words yet from the Eastern Forest. The Ghost Realm is closing its shield to all tribes and is unresponsive towards all matters concerning the Nine Heavens. Qingqiu is unaffected, High God Bai Zhen is providing shelter to the wounded. Kunlun is currently well protected but I’m not sure if it is — inhabited at the moment,” Si-Ming’s eyes narrowed in a peculiar way. “The last time I saw the Crown Prince, he was with the Ghost Princess, the Queen of Qingqiu, and the King of Xunzhua. Because you told me in advance not to engage at any cost lest I give myself away, Lord Donghua, I only stood by and observed.”

Her aunt and fourth uncle were safe, Fengjiu smiled in relief. At the same time, she could not help but marvel at the Si-Ming’s incredible ability to gather so much information in just a few days. It was no wonder Donghua had trusted him with so many important tasks.

“I see,” Donghua exchanged a mysterious look with the Star Lord, a certain grimness appearing on both their faces. “Moyuan --” he said quietly, as though thinking out loud.

But why had Si-Ming not made an effort to contact Qingqiu or the Crown Prince? Fengjiu bit down on her lip as she wondered in silence.

“Donghua,” she drew closer to him, placing her hands on both his arms to get his attention. “What are you and Si-Ming doing?”

His gaze abruptly moved to her, his eyes darkened.

“You have to go home, Jiu’er,” he said, in that tone that never failed to irritate her. He wanted her safe, Fengjiu understood that, but if he cared about her at all, he should know that what she needed was not his protection, but his presence.

“I’m not leaving you,” she said adamantly. “Not now.”

“Jiu’er, listen to me - it is dangerous for you to be out of Qingqiu’s shield.”

“I go out of Qingqiu’s shield all the time.”

“You know what I mean,” his gaze intensified.

From the corner of her eyes, Fengjiu could see the Star Lord tiptoeing out of the tent.

“The Nine Heavens are in a dark immortal’s hands, Donghua,” she said. “I’m not stupid, I know things are not the same anymore. But that’s why I’m not leaving.”

“What are you talking about?” he said, though the weariness in his voice told her he did not want to continue this quarrel, because he knew it would lead to a point where he would have to yield to her reasoning.

“We’re all part of this war now, that’s what I mean,” tears gathered in Fengjiu’s eyes. “None of us can escape Luoji. Staying inside Qingqiu’s shield won’t make it any safer for me because I will help my aunt and uncles and anyone in my family who takes the Crown Prince’s side.”

Donghua’s head slightly shook in hopelessness.

“Are you asking me to leave because you and Si-Ming are doing something dangerous?” she said and moved back a little.

“Jiu’er --”

“Because you know that your days are numbered or something along that line?”

He said nothing.

“Well,” she sniffled and brushed away the tear that was rolling down, looking back at him defiantly. “I know who you are, I know the kind of responsibility you have to shoulder; and I’m not asking you to stop what you’re doing. I’ve never wanted you to stop being Lord Donghua, a protector of the eight realms. I’m only asking that -- if you’re determined to go get yourself killed to save the world, then at least let me accompany you the rest of the way.”

An awfully long silence greeted the end of her speech. Fengjiu did not quite understand what it meant, or whether Donghua had fully listened to her.

“Your hair is undone,” he suddenly said, voice much softer, and reached forward to touch her long braid. Fengjiu’s eyes followed his hand and she realized that the little hair tie was indeed slipping down to the tip of her hair.

Quickly she pushed it back up and fixed the untidiness of her braid, her cheeks warm under his gaze, while Donghua was looking as though this simple thing she was doing brought him great ease.

“Have you been well?” he asked.

Fengjiu did not reply right away, she knew for certain he was not talking about her health. She had been keeping a distance from him ever since that incident with the Stone of Fate.

But why was he asking her this question now? Fengjiu stared at him, her lips a thin line of suspicion. Was he trying to distract her?

“I have,” she said. “Very well.”

“I heard that you have completed your High Immortal Lightning Trial.”

“Right, I did. Did Gu-gu tell you?”

He nodded. “High Goddess Bai Qian frequently visits Taichen Palace’s library.”

Fengjiu looked at him for a long second, realizing that they had not had a conversation like this in forever. Formal greetings and quick glances were what they’d been giving each other for the last few months. Having him so close now felt almost unreal.

She had never given up on the hope that they could be together, but to think that they had eternity was foolish, especially now when war had broken among them, when almost all the things they’d all thought impossible had happened. Perhaps now was the time to make sure they understood each other, to make sure he understood that she had not given up.

“Gu-gu used to say that if I went on with my life,” she began slowly, “concentrated on my studies and what I was good at, and tried to be myself, I wouldn’t be thinking about you all the time anymore; and maybe it would give you the opportunity to think about what had happened too.”

Donghua chuckled, rather bitterly, and briefly looked away from her.

“She said I shouldn’t let one kind of emotion rule over my mind for too long,” Fengjiu went on. “But that’s how it had been for me. That’s what drove me insane.”

For a second it looked as though Donghua was about to utter an apology, but he remained silent, waiting for her to go on.

“She also said — High God Moyuan told her once that someone who takes away the qualities that make you what you are, or causes you to forget to live -- is not meant for you.”

“High God Moyuan is a wise man,” Donghua replied with a small smile.

“That’s what they usually say,” Fengjiu chuckled. “To be frank though, I don’t understand him sometimes. But I reckon that’s Gu-gu’s job, not mine.” She sighed, half laughing. “But — I listened to their advice, of course. And I might have overdone it a little.”

The silence between them this time was much more pleasant. Something had changed in the atmosphere following what she had said. A sort of warmth spread from her face to the rest of her body.

“I wish things were different,” Donghua said, with some emotion in his voice at last. “That dark days were not ahead of us, that I could accept your help without putting you in danger.”

Finally, Fengjiu could not help smiling, some honesty, something that helped her fathom the depth of his heart.

She flung herself forward and into his slightly open arms - the man she had treated with indifference for the last few months. The only man her entire existence yearned for. Her aunt may be right, in a sense... Perhaps that was how she and the God of War viewed things. But there were many instances where Fengjiu could not deny that her life consisted of nothing but an undying longing for this man, instances where reason just did not make sense. Books, studies, friends - they did not fail to bring her joy, they were such pleasant sources of distraction. But in the end, that was all they could offer her - distraction.

His presence fulfilled her like nothing could.

The Stone of Fate - what did it know? If it had decided that she would be better off with someone else then it had made a mistake.

And since the world might come to an end any day now, why not seize the time they were given to actually live for once.

Donghua’s hand gently pulled on her shoulder, prompting her to detach from him.

He took a long look at her. The depth in his eyes was immeasurable; there was some great sadness in them that puzzled her - something was bothering him, something even more dire than the fall of the Nine Heavens.

With a quiet sigh he pressed her into his chest again.

“Donghua,” she said. “Tell me what you’re doing. Whatever it is, I trust you. Not because I’m still that silly fox who used to marvel at everything you did, but because I know you’ve never failed us before.”

“This is madness,” was his response, yet his arms around her tightened.

The whole world was mad right now, Fengjiu let out a stubborn laugh and buried her face deeper into him.

Perhaps a little madness was exactly what they needed to face this war.

Chapter 8 Part 8